A Review of the Role Playing Game Supplement Assassin’s Breach: Tavern Gambling Game

Assassin’s Breach: Tavern Gambling Game by Justin Andrew Mason is a role playing game supplement published by AAW Games for use with the Pathfinder Roleplaying Game. As such, it is covered by the Open Game License and some parts are considered to be Open Game Content as a result. This is an in-game game together with an artefact and mini adventure.

The PDF is available from RPGNow for $9.99 but was purchased at the reduced price of $5. It is also available as a softcover print on demand book, in standard softcover for $12.99, premium heavyweight softcover for $15.99, PDF and standard softcover for $13.99 and finally PDF and premium heavyweight softcover for $16.99. The PDF is the version reviewed and has 31 pages. Of these, two pages are the colour front and rear covers, one page is the Table of Contents and front matter and one page is the Open Game License.

Assassin's Breach: Tavern Gambling GameThe first section is Assassin’s Breach which begins with the single page introduction to the game and the rest of the supplement and then goes onto the rules for the actual game which take up about two and a half pages. This is a simple to learn game that uses give six-sided dice. The dice are custom, and later on are printable elements for either making entire dice or adapting existing ones. There are instructions on how to use normal dice as well, which is useful. The game revolves around assassins attempting to slay a target, with bets based around this, and actually looks pretty decent.

Next is Rest at the Wayside Inn, the mini-adventure which is aimed at 4-6 characters of levels 8-10. The Wayside Inn can be conjured up using the artefact bones of the weary traveller – itself detailed and interesting – and is a safe place to rest up, being impervious to damage and constantly resupplying itself. At least, it was a safe place, until a necromancer failed in his attempt to become a lich. Now the inn is occupied by the undead remains of the necromancer and a dozen NPCs who he has killed over the years, NPCs who are well detailed but have no real memory of their former life.

This can be played as a straight run-through; characters summon the inn using the bones of the weary traveller (which are Assassin’s Breach dice), enter the inn, discover what is going on and defeat the undead necromancer. Or, perhaps, a more drawn out campaign could be run. Characters summon the inn a number of times (this is done by chance; the artefact that summons it is a set of dice after all), gradually get to know the inhabitants and work out what is going on, perhaps between a number of adventures. The inn itself is mapped, with GM’s and player’s versions, and the undead creature is a necrowight, which would appear to be a new monster.

Next is the Constructible Game Elements for the Assassin’s Breach game. The first page has five six sided custom dice templates, each a different colour. The next page has individual coloured sides that are intended to be stuck onto standard 16mm six sided dice (the PDF is U.S. Letter in size; those printing these, and the other items, in A4 will need to make adjustments). The next page is a constructible, full colour box for storing the game in. Finally, there are four pages of double-sided templates for copper, silver, gold and platinum pieces.

The last page of content is the player’s map of the Wayside Inn.

Assassin’s Breach: Tavern Gambling Game in Review

The PDF is well bookmarked with the major and minor sections linked and the Table of Contents, although not quite as thorough, is also hyperlinked. Navigation is therefore excellent.

The text maintains a full colour two column format and some minor errors were noticed. There are a substantial number of illustrations; colour maps of the inn, colour images of the artefact, inn and necrowight, examples of the printable material and some black and white filler art. Presentation is therefore excellent.

Assassin’s Breach itself is a game that can be played within the game. Instead of simply doing some skill rolls for a gambling game – a common element in taverns – this is an actual game that can be played. Although this is a pretty logical idea, there are very few similar supplements around; sourcebooks often have overviews and names of games, but rarely go into how they actually work, possibly because of the difficulty in actually designing the game.

One option is to use existing games, but it can be more interesting to have an entirely new game. There are a few other examples of such; Dragon and the Thief from Raging Swan Press, 5 Minute Mini-Games from Chaotic Shiny Productions and perhaps Printable Board Games: Arena from PenguinComics.com. Assassin’s Breach is a nice game that can be integrated into a campaign for players who want more than a dice roll to determine the result of a gambling game. For those groups that appreciate props, it’s definitely worth printing out the ones included.

Regarding the print on demand version, given that a significant part of the supplement is the constructible game elements – seven pages in total – there is probably a problem with that, as no purchaser is going to want to slice up the newly printed book to use them. Of course, such can be printed out from the PDF, but they really aren’t appropriate to include in a POD book.

The adventure itself is interesting and, as mentioned, could perhaps be further integrated and developed. The artefact has useful benefits, but being a gambling artefact, drawbacks as well, and both are brought on by sheer chance.

Assassin’s Breach: Tavern Gambling Game is a really nice extra for a campaign and it can be found by clicking here.

 

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